Cuba, New York
|Cuba, New York|
Downtown Cuba, NY
|• Type||Town Council|
|• Town Supervisor||Barbara Deming (D, R)|
|• Town Council|
|• Total||35.8 sq mi (93 km2)|
|• Density||91/sq mi (35/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
Cuba is a town in Allegany County, New York, United States. The Town lies on the western border of Allegany County, with the village of Cuba within its borders. Cuba is approximately an hour and a half drive south of Rochester and Buffalo, New York. The federally recognized tribe of Seneca Native Americans have a reservation on the western town line. As of the 2010 Census, the total population was 3,243.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Demographics
- 3 History
- 4 Business
- 5 Points of interest
- 6 Education
- 7 Churches
- 8 Cemeteries
- 9 Addresses of interest
- 10 Notable residents
- 11 References
- 12 External links
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 35.8 square miles (92.8 km²), of which, 35.1 square miles (91.0 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (1.95%) is water.
The west town line is the border of Cattaraugus County, New York.
The Southern Tier Expressway (Interstate 86 and New York State Route 17) pass through the town running east-west. New York State Route 305 is a major north-south highway that intersects New York State Route 446 in the village of Cuba.
Communities and locations in the Town of Cuba
- Black Creek – A former community in the town, now in the Town of New Hudson. Black Creek is mentioned often in the early history of the town.
- Cuba – A village in the western part of the town.
- Cuba Lake – A lake in the northwest corner of the town.
- North Cuba – A hamlet north of Cuba village on Route 305.
- Oil Springs Creek – A stream passing through the Village of Cuba.
- Oil Springs Reservation – A reservation of the Seneca at the western town line.
- South Cuba – A hamlet south of Cuba village on Route 305.
- Seymour – A former community in the town located near North Cuba.
- Summit – A location east of Cuba village on County Road 20, also called "Cuba Summit."
- Tannery Creek – A stream flowing across the town and through Cuba village.
John S. Minard's: Civic History of Cuba, published in 1910, tells us that "Cuba is a Roman word and means Goddess or Protector of the Young. So in all probability, the Legislators of 1822, when they set aside the township from the town of Friendship, by accident, stumbled upon the word and appropriated the name, the significance of which is pleasant to think of." Simeon DeWitt, the surveyor general for New York State in the early 19th century, was an avid student of ancient Roman Mythology and is credited with suggesting the name.
Some people think that the town was named after the island of Cuba. A common reason for this is that there are other towns in the area with names of Spanish cities or towns, such as Salamanca, Cadiz, Panama, Mexico and Bolivar, to name a few. Another town, Belfast, although not Spanish, bears the name of another foreign city (in Northern Ireland or Ulster).
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,392 people, 1,336 households, and 915 families residing in the town. The population density was 96.6 people per square mile (37.3/km²). There were 1,710 housing units at an average density of 48.7 per square mile (18.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.91% White, 0.27% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.09% of the population.
There were 1,336 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.5% were non-families. 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $33,939, and the median income for a family was $37,969. Males had a median income of $29,291 versus $21,115 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,247. About 6.0% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
The Town of Cuba was formed in 1822 from part of the Town of Friendship. In 1830, Cuba was reduced by the formation of the Town of Genesee. In 1835, Cuba was partitioned again to form the Town of Clarksville.
Formerly known as Township 3 Range 2 of the Holland Land Purchase, the settlement of Cuba began in 1817, and the town was separated in 1822, and a village incorporated in 1850. Between 1810 to the late 1820s the place saw a boom in both settlement and population as many of the town's first businesses, churches and schools were established.
Along with neighboring Town of Friendship, New York, which houses Friendship Dairies, Cuba has been a top producer of dairy products since the late 19th century. In the early 20th century, Cuba was known as the 'Cheese Capital of the World', but has since lost that reputation with the economic downturn in Upstate-Central-Western New York and the closing of several factories. Today, it is home to the Empire Cheese Factory, located on Haskell Road in the south end of Cuba. Empire Cheese is one of the town's top employers. Cuba is also the home of the Cuba Cheese Shoppe. Located on Genesee Street, the Cuba Cheese Shoppe serves as a retail outlet for many types of cheeses and dairy products. Cuba Cheese has won several awards and is known as one of the top producers of New York State Cheddar. Every year during the first week of June the town hosts Cuba Dairy Week. Cuba is also home to Farnsworth Cookies and many other local businesses.
Points of interest
About two miles (3 km) north of the village is a man-made lake at 1,545 feet (471 m) above sea level, Cuba Lake is the highest reservoir in Allegany County. In western New York State, Cuba Lake is the sixth highest reservoir. (Ref.: Digital copy of the US Geological Survey map.) It was constructed in 1858 at a cost of $150,000, as a reservoir to feed the Genesee Valley Canal. At the time of its construction, Cuba Lake was the largest man-made lake in the world. There are many game fish to fish for in the lake including Bass, Walleye, and Northern Pike.
Today, the lake mainly serves as a source of recreation for locals. It is surrounded by some 300+ homes, many of which are year-round dwellings. The road surrounding the lake is about 7 miles (11 km) in length and very narrow.
The Seneca Oil Spring
The spring is located near the spillway end of Cuba Lake on the Oil Springs Reservation, Allegany County, New York. This is the site of the famed spring described by the Franciscan Missionary Joseph de La Roche Daillon in 1627, the first recorded mention of oil on the North American Continent. In 1927, the New York State Oil Producers Association sponsored the dedication of a monument at the site describing the history of the oil industry in North America. The site is now under the supervision of the County of Allegany and a picnic area is available for those visiting there.
Cuba is also home to what the locals refer to as the Block Barn on Route 305 just past the Conrail overpass south of the Historic District. Constructed in 1909, this structure, which is made almost entirely of cement, spans nearly 350 feet (110 m) long and is completely fireproof. It was built to house William Simpson's "McKinney" horses. It has been a popular stable and the Czar of Russia sent a mare there to be mated with "Mckinney". It was once considered by the Anheuser Busch company as a spot to house its famous Clydesdales. Each year in September it hosts the Cuba Garlic Festival
South Street Historic District
The South Street Historic District encompasses a four block, one quarter mile section of South Street (Route 305), the main north-south route through the village. The street is one of the village's most prestigious residential areas. Designated in 1988, when it was added to the State and National Historic Registers.
Story Block Building
In the historic district, the Story Block building was built by James Story in 1876 and is currently being renovated.
The main high school in Cuba is Cuba-Rushford Middle High School, which formed after a merger of the Cuba and Rushford, New York school districts. The Middle High School sits north of the town on Route 305 and teaches grades 6-12. What is known as the "Old" High School on Elm Street now teaches grades K-5 as the "Old" Elementary School across the street is now the Elm Street Academy as part of a Boces program. The mascot of Cuba was the Greyhounds until the merger in the mid-1990s when the mascot was renamed to the Rebels.
West of Cuba, between the village of Allegany, New York and Olean is St. Bonaventure University; SBU's campus is located on the Olean/Allegany border. Some of SBU's teams, such as the basketball and baseball teams, play in the Atlantic 10 Conference of NCAA Division 1.
Several of the State University of New York campuses are near Cuba. Olean is home to a Jamestown Community College satellite campus. About 30 miles (48 km) east of Cuba in Alfred, New York are Alfred University and Alfred State College. About 20 miles north of Cuba, in Houghton, is Houghton College. Buffalo, New York is home to several universities and colleges.
- Baptist - organized 1825
- The Second Baptist Church - organized 15 February 1834.
- Christ Church (Episcopal)
- Universalist - organized 3 February 1867.
- Methodist Episcopal - organized in 1844.
- Catholic - Our Lady of Angels
- North Park Wesleyan, Pastor Jonathan Ward
- Cemetery - code 15-1; (Town 3, Range 2HC, lot 45), Cuba Village
- Cemetery - code 15-2; (lot 54), Witter Road
- Cemetery - code 15-3; (lot 45), Cuba Village
- Catholic Cemetery - code 15-4; (lot 45), Cuba Village
- North Cuba Cemetery - code 15-5; (lot 47), near Cuba Dam;
Also list of Soldiers buried in North Cuba Cemetery.
- Cemetery - code 15-6; near Cuba Lake
- Cuba Cemetery tombstone list (not sure which one above this refers to).
- code numbers refer to the Allegany County Cemetery Index card file at the Allegany County
Historical Society and FHL/FHC microfilm. See WNYGS Journal, Vol. II, No. 1
Addresses of interest
Cuba Historical Society PO Box 200 16 Genesee Street Cuba, NY 14727
Town Historian David Crowley, Cuba Town Historian 44 South Street Cuba, NY 14727
Cuba Town Clerk Doris Hall 36 Spring Street Cuba, NY 14727
Cuba Friends of Architecture Donald Donovan, President P.O. Box 274 Cuba, NY 14727
Charles "Pa" Ingalls
Charles Phillip Ingalls, father of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of the popular Little House on the Prairie, was born on a farm in the North Cuba area. Several members of the Ingalls family had settled there prior to 1835, and several brothers all had adjoining farmlands. It is not known exactly where the home is located wherein Charles Ingalls was born. Several homes still standing in the area are known to have been built around that era, and were owned by various members of the Ingalls family. Many descendants of the Landsford Ingalls still reside in the area. John J. "Elmer" Lawton- 103 year old man still alive living in Houghton, NY retirement home. Lawton was a noted mayor of Cuba who authored several books about growing up with his 14 siblings.
Loron Packard, Medal of Honor recipient
Loron F. Packard is one of fewer than 3,500 recipients ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration granted by the United States government. He received the award on August 20, 1894 for his actions during the American Civil War. The text of his award citation reads "The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Loron F. Packard, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on 27 November 1863, while serving with Company E, 5th New York Cavalry, in action at Raccoon Ford, Virginia. After his command had retreated, Private Packard, voluntarily and alone, returned to the assistance of a comrade and rescued him from the hands of three armed Confederates." Packard is buried in Cuba Cemetery.
Charles Ackerly, Olympic gold medal winning wrestler
Charles Edwin "Charley" Ackerly was born in Cuba on January 3, 1898. After graduating from Cornell University in 1920, he participated as a wrestler in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium. Competing in the freestyle featherweight division, Ackerly defeated Ioannis Dialetis of Greece, Daniel Kaiser of Switzerland, Philip Bernard of Great Britain, and Sam Gerson of the United States (in that order) to win the gold medal.
William Orton, President of Western Union Telegraph Company
Born in Cuba on June 14, 1826, as a young boy Orton learned the printer's trade and worked at one of the village weeklies. He later started two separate publishing companies, in Buffalo and New York, before moving into the arena of politics. After briefly serving as just the third Commissioner in the history of the newly created Bureau of Internal Revenue in Washington D.C. he moved into the rapidly growing telegraph business, becoming President of Western Union in 1867. During his administration, Western Union more than doubled its miles of telegraph line and tripled its number of telegraph offices. Orton died suddenly at age 52.
Edward B. Vreeland, U.S. Representative
United States Representative Edward B. Vreeland was born in Cuba on December 7, 1856. He studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1881, became engaged in banking, and was appointed President of the Salamanca Trust Co. in 1891. Vreeland was elected as a Republican to the 56th Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Warren B. Hooker. He was reelected for six more terms, holding office from November 7, 1899 to March 3, 1913. As chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency, Vreeland is best known for co-authoring the Aldrich-Vreeland Emergency Currency Act. Passed by congress in 1908, the act established the National Monetary Commission, which recommended the creation of the Federal Reserve System that still serves as the central banking system of the United States.
Naomi Olive, who was murdered by her 16 year old daughter Marlene and her boyfriend Chuck Riley, was originally from Cuba. The story was made famous in the 1982 book Bad Blood: A Family Murder in Marin County, by Richard M. Levine.
Rictor Norton (born 1945) is a notable author and social historian.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Loron F. Packard". Hall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- "Charley Ackerly". Sports Reference. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- "Previous IRS Commissioners (1862-1955)". irs.gov. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- "Death of William Orton". New York Times. 23 April 1878. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- "Edward Butterfield Vreeland". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- Northrup, Cynthia Clark (2003). The American Economy: A Historical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 9. ISBN 1-57607--866-3.